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Sustainable Reading and Publishing

Updated: Mar 27, 2021

by Ekaterina Korneva

Lux goes green! After researching the environmental impact of book and periodicals publishing, we decided to join the sustainability movement and print Lux Volume 17 on recyclable paper! Now you will be able to enjoy your favorite ASU publication while being eco-friendly. Here are some reasons why it is essential and what else you can do:

Impact of the book publishing industry on the environment

In the U.S. alone, 2 billion books are published annually. It requires consuming about 32 million trees (plus 95 million trees for the newspaper industry). Paper manufacturing is the third-largest user of fossil fuels worldwide, emitting over 40 million metric tons of CO2 each year (equivalent to the annual CO2 of 7.3 million cars). To estimate the total carbon footprint, add the fuel used for transporting paper books from the printing company to the warehouse and then from the warehouse to the customer. The worst thing is that some of these books are never even read: 16,000 truckloads of unsold books are being destroyed annually. More than 40% of the solid landfill waste in the U.S. is made up of paper products.

Actions you can take as a reader

Read digital cost-effective and environmentally friendly e-books. - You probably already own a desktop, a laptop, or a tablet, which are all great tools to read e-books. If you use a separate e-reader, that is fine too (although it also has its environmental footprint). Just make sure you use it up and recycle the device responsibly when it dies. If you buy an e-reader but find that you aren’t using it, sell or give it to someone who will

If you prefer the comfy feeling of a paper book, buy recyclable books from eco-conscious vendors or used books, or borrow books from your friends, or participate in a local book exchange.

Buy books online. Even better: print-on-demand - Brick-and-mortar bookstores tend to be inefficient because they stock more books than sell and ship back any unsold books to the publishers, which creates a bigger carbon footprint.

Support your local library. As a bonus, bike or walk to the library instead of using a car. Ensure that books you no longer need are reused or recycled.

Be an advocate for sustainable reading and publishing.

Learn more about sustainability by participating in our April events

We have a handful of events prepared for you this month – and they are all about sustainability!

First, you can bring some clothes to the donation drive (Monday, March 29 – Friday, April 2, from 9 am to 6 pm, Changemaker Central, Memorial Union, Tempe).

Second, you can create a sustainable book about a local or global issue you are most concerned about. Whether it is climate change, social justice, poverty, or biodiversity, you can make a positive contribution by raising awareness about it (Monday, April 5 – Friday, April 9, from 9 am to 6 pm at Changemaker Central, Memorial Union, Tempe).

Finally, you can participate in Restore the Earth Festival by bringing unused paper and collecting expired flyers around campus to repurpose them into art (Wednesday, April 14, from 2 pm to 5 pm, SDFC field, Tempe).

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